Best of Italy Winter 2016-2017

The Ruins of Pompeii
14 Days from $2,525 per person

The essence of ‘la dolce vita' is explored through the cuisine, art and landscapes of Italy, from its iconic cities and turquoise lakes to its balmy southern shores. 

You'll enjoy Insider moments like… being welcomed to the magnificent 12th century Castello del Trebbio in the Tuscan Hills by the Baj-Macario family, and joining them in the great hall for a delicious meal of traditional Tuscan cuisine.

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Tour Pace: Active
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  1. Board your overnight flight to Europe (not included).
  2. Welcome to Rome, the Eternal City. Spend the rest of your day relaxing or take a leisurely stroll around the city. Join your companions and Travel Director later for a Welcome Reception. Enjoy an orientation drive to see St. Peter's Basilica and other sights - a great introduction to this beautiful city.
    hotel:Grand Tiberio
  3. Your included sightseeing tour with a Local Specialist begins at the Vatican Museums. Experience a Cultural Insight in the Vatican when you ascend the smooth and step-less spiral staircase designed by famous architect Donato Bramante. Admire Michelangelo's magnificent frescoed ceiling in the Sistine Chapel and then visit St. Peter's Basilica to see his famous Pietà. Your tour continues in ancient Rome. See the Circus Maximus where chariot races were held and visit the impressive Colosseum. There's time afterwards to explore the city on your own, or simply relax and watch the world go by.
  4. Visit the Commonwealth War Cemetery and enjoy views of the Montecassino Abbey. In Pompeii your Local Specialist tells you all about the devastation caused by the eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79 during your walking tour. Arrive later at your hotel in Sorrento where you dine tonight.
    meal(s):BB, DW
    hotel:Johanna Park
  5. Witness the intricate art of inlaid woodwork, a Cultural Insight for which Sorrento is famous. Later embark on an included excursion by ferry to the Isle of Capri. Visit Capri Town and other sights during your tour with a Local Specialist. Spend time exploring this lovely island on your own.
  6. Assisi is a mystical town perched on the slopes of Mount Subasio overlooking the peaceful Umbrian landscape. Under the protection of St. Francis this city is still enclosed by medieval ramparts. Your Local Specialist takes you on a walking tour which includes a visit to the Basilica of St. Francis, famous for its frescoes depicting the life of this much-loved saint. Spend time afterwards exploring on your own and shopping for souvenirs. Dine at your hotel this evening.
    meal(s):BB, DW
    hotel:Cenacolo Authentic Accommodations
  7. Today enjoy central Italy’s glorious countryside as we travel northwards through the Emilia Romagna region, famous for its tortellini, mortadella and parmesan cheese. Travel to Verona, the home of Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers, to admire the Roman arena and Juliet's balcony. Arrive later in Venice, the Queen of the Adriatic.
    meal(s):BB, DW
  8. This morning gain a Cultural Insight into the ancient art of glassblowing at a traditional workshop on Giudecca Island. Then cruise by private launch to St. Mark’s Square. View the Bridge of Sighs, the beautiful Doge’s Palace and the Basilica. Spend free time seeing the sights of your choice. You might like to cruise across the lagoon to the Island of Burano and enjoy a delicious meal.
  9. Cross the plains of Lombardy to Milan, the global capital of design and fashion. View the Duomo, La Scala opera house and the famous Galleria during your orientation. Dine tonight at your hotel.
    meal(s):BB, DW
    hotel:Barchetta Excelsior
  10. Enjoy an orientation of Como including the Old Town and views of the Cathedral. Later consider joining a lake cruise that takes in views of beautiful villas and gardens along the shoreline.
  11. Cross the plains of Lombardy, the forested Apennine Mountains, and pass by Genoa on the way to Pisa. View the extraordinary Leaning Tower before arriving in Florence, birthplace of the Renaissance. Tonight you might like to take the opportunity to enjoy dinner and a night out in the Tuscan Hills.

    hotel:Grand Mediterraneo
  12. Your Local Specialist brings the city's rich history to life during your walking tour. View the Duomo and Ponte Vecchio and visit Piazza della Signoria. Enjoy spectacular panoramic views of Florence from Piazzale Michelangelo. Tonight experience typical Tuscan cuisine as you enjoy a special Be My Guest dinner with a local family.
    meal(s):BB, BG
  13. Set in scenic Tuscan countryside, visit the medieval town of Siena, famous for its exciting Palio horse race. This evening in Rome join your Travel Director and new friends for a Farewell Dinner.

    meal(s):BB, FD
    hotel:Executive Style/Crowne Plaza St. Peter's
  14. Say ‘arrivederci Roma' at the end of your memorable vacation in Italy. Transfers are available to Rome Fiumicino Airport. Conditions apply.

30 Day Refund Guarantee

We promise you’ll enjoy a stress-free travel experience from the minute you start your vacation planning or we’ll refund your deposit. Make your reservation with a $350 deposit. If you change your mind for any reason within 30 days of booking, we’ll offer you a full refund.

Add air to your reservation

Let our Air Specialists handle your air reservations. We have direct access to the most current airfare routes and prices, so you’ll get the best value available when we book your flights. We never charge a booking fee and you’ll enjoy the flexibility to pay for air 60-90 days prior to departure.

  • Professional Travel Director Professional Travel Director
  • Sightseeing with Local Experts Sightseeing with Local Experts
  • VIP Access VIP Access
  • WIFI on Coach and in Hotels WIFI on Coach and in Hotels
  • Most Meals Most Meals
  • Personal Flight Options Personal Flight Options
  • Cultural Enrichment Cultural Enrichment
  • Expertly Selected Hotels Expertly Selected Hotels
  • Hotel Tips Hotel Tips

12 nights' accommodations, 12 hot buffet breakfasts, 7 dinners.

Your included sights

  • City tour in Rome, Pompeii, Capri, Assisi and Florence.
  • Orientation of Venice and Milan.
  • Visit St. Peter's Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, Vatican Museum, the Colosseum in Rome, the Commonwealth War Cemetery in Cassino, the excavations at Pompeii, St. Francis' Basilica in Assisi, picturesque Lake Como and the medieval city of Siena .
  • Cruise to the beautiful Isle of Capri and by private launch to St. Mark's Square in Venice.
  • View the Benedictine Abbey in Monte Cassino, the Byzantine St. Mark's Basilica in Venice, Juliet's Balcony in Verona, the Gothic Cathedral and La Scala Opera House in Milan, the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Duomo in Florence.
  • See the ancient sites of Rome including Circus Maximus.

Your Insider Experiences

  • Local Specialist: For included sightseeing in Rome, Pompeii, Capri, Assisi and Florence.
  • Be My Guest: Enjoy a buffet of traditional Tuscan cuisine in the great hall of the castle.
Definite Departure
Depart Date Return Date Price Discount AvailabilityPrice
27 Jan 17 9 Feb 17 checkmark $2,525pp
3 Mar 17 16 Mar 17 checkmark $2,695pp
10 Mar 17 23 Mar 17 checkmark $2,750pp
$2,750 pp
17 Mar 17 30 Mar 17 checkmark $2,750pp
$2,750 pp
24 Mar 17 6 Apr 17 checkmark $2,795pp
$2,795 pp
30 Mar 17 12 Apr 17 checkmark $3,025pp
1 Apr 17 14 Apr 17 checkmark $3,075pp
4 Apr 17 17 Apr 17 checkmark $3,075pp
$3,075 pp
6 Apr 17 19 Apr 17 checkmark $3,125pp
$3,125 pp
8 Apr 17 21 Apr 17 checkmark $3,175pp
$3,175 pp

These departures will be staying in Venice during the Carnival of Venice 2017.

undefinedThese departures will be in Rome on Easter Sunday.

undefinedSpecial Rate Solo Rooming: These departures include 40-100% discount on our standard single supplement. 

Price is per person and is based on two people sharing a twin bedded room. Single rooms are available at a supplement.

Single Room Supplement: from $110.

Gratuities: Option to pre-pay gratuities for Travel Director and Driver $100 per person.

Airport Transfers: On arrival to Rome Fiumicino Airport transfers will operate at 9:30am, 12:30pm and 3:30pm. Guests arriving later should make their own way to the hotel. Return transfers on the last travel day will arrive at Rome Fiumicino Airport at 7am and 9:30am.

Early Payment Discount: Pay in full to save the amount listed above. 

AARP Members are entitled to an exclusive Member Benefit Discount on all Grand European Travel vacations. Plus receive a free travel gift!  Call Toll Free: 1-866-847-3858 for details.

Frequent Travelers: Save an additional 5% off the price of the vacation.


  • U.S. citizens traveling to Italy must have a current passport that is valid for six months beyond the conclusion of their trip. You can find information on how to apply for a passport here, and how to renew a passport here. No visa is required for U.S. citizens entering Italy.

  • The currency in Italy is the Euro (€). While it’s a good idea to bring some euros for when you first arrive in Italy, you’ll usually find a better exchange rate when you arrive in your destination.  The most convenient way to obtain cash is to use your ATM card at local banks in Italy. We recommend you also bring a valid credit card for purchases while you are traveling.  It is important that you inform your financial institutions of your travel plans before you leave home so they don’t flag your purchases as potentially fraudulent charges.

  • While Italy is most famous for pizza and pasta, few travelers are aware of just how varied the country’s culinary offering actually are. In fact, each of the 20 regions has its own distinctive cuisine. Traditionally, lunch (pranzo) is the most substantial meal of the day. A full meal consists of antipasto (starter), a primo piatto (pasta, rice or soup), a secondo piatto (meat or fish) with a side, or contorno (vegetable or salad), then frutta (fresh fruit). Finish with espresso and maybe a limoncello or grappa.  Wine is usually served with the meal, accompanied by mineral water. Tap water is safe to drink, but not always tasty. We recommend you buy bottled mineral water. ‘Acqua non potabile’ means the water is not safe to drink.  Find out about some local specialties to try in Italy’s top destinations below.


    Food in Florence is simple and humble, and relies on the fresh ingredients of the surrounding Tuscan countryside. Many of the local recipes have evolved from peasant dishes to international favorites. Bread is an important staple in Florentine cooking, and is featured in everything from antipasti (appetizers) such as bruschetta to traditional main dishes. Panzanella is a popular summer salad prepared with day old crusty bread and tomatoes.  Papa al pomodoro is a delicious soup made with bread, tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, and herbs.  You’ll also find a variety of dishes featuring white beans, including the hearty ribollita soup.  But the flagship of Florentine cuisine remains the famous bistecca alla fiorentina (T-bone steak).  For a sweet finish, meals are topped off with traditional cantuccini (almond cookies) and the local vin santo dessert wine.


    A visit to Venice offers an opportunity to discover a variety of truly unique gastronomic traditions.  Venetians have a long-standing tradition of eating cicchetti, small bites similar to Spanish tapas. You can enjoy a variety of these before lunch or dinner, paired with a glass of local wine at restaurants and bars around town. Other common dishes include polenta, risotto with peas, salted cod, sardines, and local bigoli pasta.  


    Roman cuisine is deeply rooted in the past. Despite the city’s imperial history, the food in Rome and the surrounding Lazio region is anything but refined.  Humble pasta dishes such as carbonara, amatriciana, aglio e olio (garlic and olive oil) and cacio e peppe (pecorino cheese and pepper) are local favorites served in trattorias around town. Other foods to try in Rome include pizza, a variety of fritti (fritters) made with everything from salted cod to zucchini flours, stewed oxtail, suppli (rice and Bolognese sauce croquettes) and sharp pecorino cheese. For dessert, try crostata di ricotta (Italian cheesecake) or zeppole (donuts).

  • In Italy, the weather changes very quickly, with temperatures varying from morning to night. We suggest bringing a variety of lightweight clothing items that can be layered to save space in your suitcase and give you more options for how to dress. Keep in mind that your shoulders and knees should be covered while visiting religious sites. For more helpful information please refer to our Packing Tips & Packing List.

  • At bars and restaurants, tipping is less common or generous as in the U.S. When dining out, it’s appropriate, although not required, to leave an extra euro or two for your waiter.

    At the end of your guided vacation, it’s customary to offer your motor coach driver and Travel Director a gratuity. We recommend €3.00 per person/per day for your driver and €5.00 per person/per day for your Travel Director.  Recommended gratuity for a Local Host and Local Specialist is 1-2 euros per person, paid at the conclusion of each guided visit.  A convenient option is to prepay your tips before your departure.

  • Baggage on our trips is restricted to one large suitcase per person with dimensions not exceeding 30x19x10 inches and a maximum weight of 50 pounds. You are also permitted one piece of hand luggage, which should be small enough to fit under your coach seat or on the small overhead shelf compartment. Please note that luggage with an adjustable handle and wheels will not fit in the overhead compartment of the coach. Hotel porterage is included in your vacation.

  • You will need to be comfortable on your feet, walking and standing for up to three hours in various weather conditions.  All of our vacations involve walking, often on cobblestone and uneven surfaces in historic city centers.  In order to get the most out of your vacation you need to be able to comfortably walk 1-3 miles unassisted in one day, be in good condition and be able to keep pace with the group. 

    If you need any medications, it is important that you bring enough to last you the whole trip and keep them in your carry-on bag while you travel.

  • We highly recommend our optional Travel Protection Plan, which allows you to cancel for any reason up to 48 hours before departure. The plan also includes trip interruption, baggage loss or delay, and medical and emergency assistance. Click here for a summary of coverage details, terms and conditions.

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